Note: This is an early draft of what became Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7 which is more current and complete.
A clean reinstall is often better than getting a new computer since most PC's come larded with sponsor's bloatware and useless factory utilities that have much better versions built into Windows 7. For this reason many tech enthusiasts clean reinstall using the Product Key on the COA sticker affixed to the machine.
Download the latest official Win7 installer ISO with SP1
for your licensed version, burn to DVD or write to flash stick using Windows 7 USB-DVD Download Tool
Back up your files externally, make your Recovery Disks so you have a path back to factory condition, or save a Backup Image
of the entire HD first. Run an audit of hardware and software including Product Keys using Belarc Advisor.
Gather your program installers. Boot the Windows 7 installer
, choose Custom Install, then Drive Options (Advanced) to Delete all partitions not needed, repartition as desired following illustrated steps given here: Clean Install Windows 7
. If you don't have a partition scheme in mind, just click Next after deleting to let the installer create and format your installation partition for you.
The installer is mostly driver
-complete, with newer arriving quickly via optional Windows Updates. Just in case, have your Wireless or Ethernet LAN driver on flash stick or CD so you can install it to get online quickly. Then enable hardware driver auto-updating
and check for optional Updates.
still missing in Device Manager after several rounds of Updates can be found on the Support Downloads webpage for your model computer or device, along with possibly needed hotfixes which you can also wait to see if you need. Driver Install - Device Manager
Install updates and then programs slowly over time to gauge performance changes after each. Don't let any programs write themselves into msconfig>Startup as they slow startup, become freeloaders on your RAM/CPU and can spy on you. Uncheck everything except AV and gadgets in msconfig>Startup, then after reboots do the same in msconfig>Services after checking Hide All MS Services. Check back periodically to see if anything writes itself back in and turn it off in its Program Preferences or Uninstall it. Startup Programs - Change
Use a lightweight free AV like Microsoft Security Essentials
which works perfectly with Windows 7 Firewall.
Activation at Control Panel>System may require a robocall to MS the first time to record your hardware signature in their servers.
When finished, clean and order the HD perfectly using state-of-the-art free CCleaner
"Run Cleaner" button and Registry tab, then Puran boot-time defragger
+ Full Disk Check after checking Intelligent Optimizer on Additional Operations tab:
Finally save a Windows 7 Backup image externally
so you never have to reinstall again, just reimage the HD or it's replacement using DVD/Repair CD with the stored image. Special note to HP owners:
HP Recovery will now do a Minimized OS Recovery when booting from F11, which retains only the OS, Recovery Manager, HP Support Ass't, and HP Wireless LAN. This is as close to a clean reinstall as you can get without using a retail DVD with COA key. If you clean reinstall only to C and leave all other partitions intact, F11 Recovery will still work later if you need it. You can Extract HP 3rd Party Software from RecovCD.